Have you been in a health food store recently? Standing in line you can see people with shopping carts filled to the brim with no less than 30 boxes of different herbs, vitamins, and supplements of all kinds. B-complexes, glucosamine, licorice, vitamin E, vitamin C, ginko, garlic, and St. John’s Wort, just to name a few. While this is certainly an extreme example, it’s not as rare as you might think.
We have the power to determine how healthy our cells are by the choices we make with our bodies. Our bodies are equipped with an incredible ability to go towards health when they are supplied with the right building materials. If your cells are like houses, the quality of the cell is dependent on the building materials which are found in our food.
As a chiropractor, my viewpoint may be different than many in mainstream medicine, because chiropractors focus on creating health rather than managing disease. I would never define health as something that could come out of a pill or bottle, whether they were natural or not, but as something that's experienced from the inside out.
For some, taking vitamins has become just another way to manage symptoms, rather than treating the root cause of a problem. Here's how to avoid it:
1. Eat real food.
If it was grown on a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, avoid it. If it has a label stay away. Colorful plant foods — dark greens, blues, reds, oranges and yellows — are all indicators of powerful plant compounds called phytonutrients that turn on anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, detoxifying genes.
2. Go local and organic when possible.
Since you're now eating real food (see #1), you're going to be having a lot more fruits and vegetables. Organic foods are free of chemical pesticides. While some pesticide may not create symptomatic effects in most people, they can build up and get stored in fat cells of the body.
3. Create the perfect plate.
Fifty percent should be low-starch veggies like broccoli, asparagus, salad fixings, 25% lean protein (chicken, fish, beans, nuts or seeds), and 25% gluten-free whole grain like brown rice or quinoa, or starchy veggies like sweet potato.
4. Cut back on sugar.
Eating sugar and high carbohydrate processed foods spike insulin, which throws a monkey wrench in hormone production in the body. Insulin production is an important process for storing nutrients and processing glucose in the bloodstream, but our bodies simply can’t handle the insulin requirements we throw at them.
5. Get moving.
Weight loss aside, exercise is important for brain and nerve function. Movement of the body feeds the brain. If you have your nervous system working properly, then the tissues of your body will just work better.
6. Start strong.
As part of your morning ritual, add a green smoothie (this can be any combination of several greens, avocado, coconut oil, and a little fruit). This is designed to deliver great nutrient-dense antioxidants and phytonutrients from vegetables with the fruit added to sweeten and lessen any bitterness from veggies like chard, kale and spinach.
7. Ditch the wheat.
Wheat has taken over our food supply. Our modern wheat has literally become a poison which makes you fat, inflamed and addicted. Two slices of whole wheat bread raise your blood sugar more than two tablespoons of table sugar. Give it up for a month and watch your health transform.
8. Fill in the gaps.
Look, we're all super busy. Sometimes it gets hard to meet all of your nutritional and movement needs in our day to day lives. Work gets in the way, kids get in the way, sleep gets in the way. I get it. That’s where supplements should fill in the gaps. I recommend omega-3s, vitamin D, and probiotics as supplements most people can use.
As always, make sure you consult with a qualified health professional to help you manage the use of these supplements.